Legarda Commends APEC 2015 for Allowing MSMEs to Take Center Stage in Economic Forum

November 20, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda lauded the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Declaration signed by the 21 member economies, which highlighted the Philippines’ priorities to build inclusive economies, to the benefit and growth of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

But Legarda said that the true success of the 2015 APEC meetings hosted by the Philippines and the 2015 APEC Leaders’ Declaration will be measured through the actual gains.

“The APEC meeting is sometimes difficult to relate to by ordinary citizens, that is why there are public outcries from shutting down Metro Manila for an event that is assumed to benefit only big businesses. However, the 2015 APEC Leaders’ Declaration will hopefully open new doors of opportunity for growth for the MSMEs, small businesses with big dreams,” Legarda stated.

The APEC 2015 Leaders’ Declaration includes a provision to “foster an enabling trading environment that is responsive to new ways in which goods and services are produced and delivered and that promotes inclusiveness, especially for MSMEs.”

Legarda said, “It is commendable that MSMEs are finally given priority at a large global meeting and their agenda finally discussed by influential leaders and economies.”

MSMEs are in fact the backbone of the Philippine economy, comprising 99% of businesses in the country.

Moreover, Legarda emphasized that to truly support the growth of MSMEs, the government needs a plan that includes reducing climate risks and building resilience. The heightened engagement of the business sector, including MSMEs, in disaster risk reduction is crucial in preventing substantial business losses and economic development setbacks resulting from disasters of unprecedented scale.

Alleviating the adverse effects of climate change means switching to clean energy. Energy drives economic growth and yet 1.1 billion, globally, have no access to electricity. Asia accounts for 615 million.

Legarda said “I welcome APEC’s initiatives that will provide energy access to everyone, including those in remote communities. Clean fuel and renewable energy need to be harnessed, and development of micro grids has to be pursued in addressing energy access challenges.”

“Inclusive growth begins with making basic services available to all. Fostering the participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises in the regional and global markets, much less in the domestic supply chain, will not happen unless energy access is guaranteed to everyone. Off grid and last mile communities need to enjoy the benefits of APEC as much as everyone else in urban areas,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda authored the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which provides more assistance to entrepreneurs by requiring lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent (8%) of their total loan portfolio to small businesses. It also provides access to new technologies and regular entrepreneurship training programs for workers to ensure the viability and growth of MSMEs in the country.